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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Focus: April 2012

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Faster batch processing, a simplified interface and support for more cameras are the key features of DxO Optics Pro 7. The software corrects lens distortion and other optical problems in images based on technology that allows it to analyze specific camera and lens combinations. Features include the Lens Softness tool, which gradually corrects each image pixel to achieve a uniformly sharp look, and Unsharp Mask, which has a new slider that applies sharpness from the center of an image to the edges. Three tabs guide the entire workflow, with a corrections preview in the first tab allowing you to get started quickly. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite). Contact: DxO Labs, www.dxo.com.

As your image library grows so do your external storage needs. The LaCie eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series is a portable hard drive that has two Thunderbolt ports and two eSATA ports. Use the first port to connect up to two eSATA drives to the Hub and the second one to hook up other devices or hubs if you use multiple eSATA drives. Up to 12 drives (6x Dock, 2x eSATA links per Hub) can be connected via a single connection to a Mac with full eSATA 3 Gb/s speeds. If you have an older Mac, you can now upgrade to a newer one that uses Thunderbolt technology without having to buy new drives. Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: LaCie, (503) 844-4500, www.lacie.com.

Sometimes it's nice to stay as light on your feet as possible while traveling and that may mean leaving the DSLR at home. With the compact Leica V-Lux 3 in tow, you can still take great-looking pictures. The Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 4.5-108mm ƒ/2.8-5.2 ASPH lens packs an extensive focal length range that's equivalent to 25-600mm in 35mm format. Some of the other high-end features include a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, full 1920x1080 HD video recording in AVCHD format at 60 frames per second and a 3-inch LCD with 460,000-pixel resolution. You can twist and turn the LCD in almost any direction to shoot from more creative angles. List Price: $950. Contact: Leica, (800) 222-0118, www.leica-camera.com.

Pan and tilt your HD video DSLR smoothly by supporting it on the Manfrotto 502 professional video head. Variable fluid mechanisms give you full control over how smooth those movements are and a pan fluid drag system offers more ergonomic operation. The MVH502A has a 75mm ball base; the MVH502AH has a flat base with 3⁄8-inch thread. Both models use Manfrotto's bridge architecture and support up to 8.8 pounds counterbalance and 13.2 pounds total payload. The 8.8-pound maximum counterbalance system provides you with more support for better control no matter how the camera's weight is distributed. Estimated Street Price: $225 (MVH502A); $200 (MVH502AH). Contact: Manfrotto, (201) 818-9500, www.manfrotto.us.

Keep your gear safe and nearby using the Pelican 1510 Carry On Case. Made from high-impact structural polymers, the case is watertight, dustproof and "nearly indestructible." At 19.7x11x7.6 inches, it meets the FAA's maximum carry-on size. Features include a retractable extension handle, strong polyurethane wheels with stainless-steel bearings and easy-to-open Double Throw latches. The rubber over-molded top and side handles make the case comfortable to carry. Inside, Pick N Pluck foam cushions your camera, lenses and accessories. Estimated Street Price: $255. Contact: Pelican, (800) 473-5422, www.pelican.com.


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